Saturday, February 4, 2017

Festival of Fez

Drums in Fez, Morocco

I cannot hate these people
who opened their doors to me,
who opened their country to me,
Morocco, 2002.
Hate is the impossible word.
All I felt was love...
Children running to see us
on our climb through the olive groves
to the shrine on the hillside of the Holy City.
Our walks in the impossible labyrinth of Fez,
families at their creative work,
a father, a son embroidering,
a copper engraver tap, tap, tapping
amid the ever-present cacophony of the medina.
That word does not fit here,
in this Moroccan sacred society,
the call to prayer five times a day,
the ablutions at the ancient fountain.
The music I stumble upon,
the poet and the oud player in the riad courtyard,
among  the roses and the laughing children,
the fado singer in the museum gardens,
the women of Chechnya chanting.
Never will I hate these people,
my family of Man,
the young woman painting my hand with henna.
There is this place in my heart 

where hate can never be.

Annelinde Metzner
Fez Festival of Sacred Music
February 4, 2017

I was blessed to attend the Fez Festival of Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco in 2002.   Carolina Day School, where I taught music, honored me with a two-week tour of Fez and Marrakech run by Sufis who welcomed me as part of their spiritual practice.
     The political atmosphere in the USA at this moment , 2017, forms a huge cultural dissonance with my experience in this welcoming and highly creative Muslim country. I wept as I wrote this poem, because this chasm is unbearable.

Boy holding embroidery thread for his father

Father embroidering, Grandfather standing nearby

Three generations at a Sufi issawa, an all night music ceremony

Portuguese Fado singer in a museum concert

Chechnyan women's singing ensemble

Getting henna painted on my hand at an Issawa

Olive groves near the shrine of a saint

Tree of Life tiles at a pottery


  1. Your words bring back fond memories that I myself had while living in Constantine, Algeria for 5 years. We must finally come to realize that we are all members of one family, equally loved because of our uniqueness like the many varied threads in a glorious carpet. Without the different colors there would be no beauty. I am so grateful that you, beloved friend, are out in the world spreading your message of respect and inclusion. You are the kind of ambassador I want out in the world representing who we are as a people. The dissonance we are experiencing in 2017 is excruciating to me. It is like a nightmare from which there seems no waking. Your poetry is at least a balm for the aching soul. A reminder, a light shining steadily in these dark days. Thank you!

    1. Your words and memories are comforting to me too, dear William. It's a blessing to see love in the world.


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